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10 Things You Should Know About Compulsive Hoarding

By Therese Borchard

Many people might claim that, at least at one point in their lives, they could be classified as a “pack rat” or a “closet clutterer.” However, compulsive hoarding is an anxiety disorder that involves much more than keeping extra papers and magazines around, or collecting CDs under your desk. Severe compulsive hoarding can interfere with a person’s activities–such as cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping–because piles of newspapers or clothes are found in the sink, in the shower, on the bed, and in every corner of a home.

There is more awareness of the issue today, due in part to the two reality TV series: “Hoarders” and “Hoarding: Buried Alive.” However, there is still so much more educating that needs to be done regarding this issue.

Here, then, are ten things you should know about hoarding. Much of the information was taken from the research of Gerald Nestadt, M.D., M.P.H and Jack Samuels, Ph.D. of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

1. Compulsive hoarding affects approximately 700,000 to 1.4 million people in the US.

2. Compulsive hoarding is often considered a form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) because between 18 and 42 percent of people with OCD experience some compulsion to hoard. However, compulsive hoarding can affect people who don’t have OCD.

3. The OCD Collaborative Genetics Study reported that genetic linkage findings are different in OCD families with and without hoarding behavior, suggesting that a region on chromosome 14 is linked with compulsive hoarding behavior in these families and that hoarding is a distinct genetic subtype of OCD.

clutter

4. The compulsion to hoard often starts during childhood or the teen years, but doesn’t usually become severe until adulthood.

5. Hoarding can be more about fear of throwing something away than about collection or saving. Thinking about discarding an item triggers anxiety in the hoarder, so she hangs on to the item to prevent angst.

6. Many hoarders are perfectionists. They fear making the wrong decision about what to keep and what to throw out, so they keep everything.

7. Hoarding often runs in families and can frequently accompany other mental health disorders, like depression, social anxiety, bipolar disorder, and impulse control problems. A majority of people with compulsive hoarding can identify another family member who has the problem.

8. Compulsive hoarders rarely recognize their problem. Generally, only after the hoarding becomes a problem with other family members is the problem discussed.

9. Compulsive hoarding can be difficult to control. It is usually treated in the same way OCD is. However, compulsive hoarding doesn’t usually respond as well as other kinds of OCD.

10. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) may be more effective for compulsive hoarding than medications, especially when it involves a therapist going into the home of the hoarder and helps her to develop habits and a consistent behavioral program to try to de-clutter her home, car, and life.

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Tartrazine is not just a food colourant

(NaturalNews) These days, most food products that are specifically marketed to children contain tartrazine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop here. Tartrazine is also found in many medications, cosmetics and personal care products. It is in fact derived from coal tar. Some may not be familiar with what coal tar actually is or where it originates from. The online dictionary at www.dictionary.reference.com refers to coal tar as `a thick, black, viscid liquid formed during the distillation of coal, that upon further distillation yields compounds, as benzene, anthracene, and phenol, from which are derived a large number of dyes, drugs and other synthetic compounds, and that yields a final residuum (coal-tar pitch), which is used chiefly in making pavements.`


Tartrazine can also be seen on ingredient labels as FD&C yellow 5, E102 or C.I. 19140. It is one of a group of dyes known as azo dyes. It is in fact an artificial colouring that is used to make foods and other products more visually appealing or appetizing. It is also used in the printing, textile and paper-manufacturing industries as pH indicators or biological stains.

Side-Effects of TartrazineTime and time again, tartrazine has been proven to cause many different side-effects and allergic reactions in people. These can include: anxiety, migraines, asthma attacks, blurred vision, eczema, other skin rashes, thyroid cancer, Eosinophilia (increase in specific forms of white blood cells), clinical depression, ADHD or hyperactivity, hives, permanent DNA damage, heart palpitations, rhinitis, sleep disturbances/insomnia, general all-over weakness, hot flushes and OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). In severe cases, anaphylactic-like reactions to tartrazine have also been reported. It is sometimes even fed to chickens to make their egg yolks more yellow and visually appealing!



Studies have also revealed that consuming tartrazine also aggravates and increases the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (a painful wrist condition which is caused by the compression of the median nerve, which passes between the ligaments and bones in the wrist). The reason for this aggravation is because tartrazine interferes with the metabolism of Vitamin B6 in the body. By eliminating tartrazine from the diet, it is possible to reduce and even prevent the occurrence of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

The main reason that tartrazine is used is because of the fact that it is a cheap alternative to beta-carotene, which is 100% natural and beneficial to our health. Turmeric can also be used as an alternative colourant in savoury dishes. Malt and Annatto can also replace this extremely unhealthy additive.

Sourcs: NaturalNews.com


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Rewiring our brains for healthy love

Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor and New York Times best-selling author, blogs about sex on Thursdays on The Chart. Read more from him at his website, GoodInBed.

I frequently deal with people stuck in ruts, slumps and negative cycles of behavior, and I’m always interested in learning more about new ways to help them get back on the right track.

Sometimes a fresh idea comes from an unexpected source. For example, not too long ago I gave a lecture at a singles workshop in New York, after which a woman in her early 30s approached me.

“I need help,” she confessed after a few seconds of small talk. “I’m suffering from OCD.”

I stopped her to tell her that I probably couldn’t help her. I’m a sexuality counselor, not a psychiatrist, and obsessive compulsive disorder is not within my professional expertise.

“No, no. Not that OCD,” she interjected. “I mean that I suffer from obsessive compulsive dating. I’m not in control of my dating life anymore. I just keep dating and dating and it’s all a big blur, and then I feel depressed and rejected if I don’t hear back from a guy I didn’t even like in the first place. I lie awake all night feeling like I’ll always be alone, that I’ll never find ‘the one.’”

While the term “obsessive compulsive dating” brought a smile to my face, the way she defined her problem got me thinking. OCD (the real disorder) is a serious condition marked by a constant barrage of intrusive thoughts and powerful urgesthat lead to unhealthy patterns of behavior (such as the need to wash one’s hands 50 times a day).

Those afflicted with OCD often recognize that these intrusive thoughts don’t really make sense at a rational level, but they still feel compelled to respond to them. On a biological level, OCD has its roots in brain processes that can be traced to the development of unhealthy neural pathways and consequent chemical imbalances.

“Obsessive compulsive dating,” on the other hand, is not a real disorder. Yet wasn’t this young woman experiencing irrational obsessive thoughts – that she would never meet somebody, that she was destined to be alone – and then responding to them by compulsively filling her calendar with an endless stream of counterproductive behaviors (in the form of unwanted dates)?

And while it’s a stretch to say that this particular form of OCD was rooted in any sort of chemical imbalance, wasn’t it possible that hard-wired neural pathways reinforced those negative habits and behaviors?

A little research into neuropsychology introduced me to the concept of “neuroplasticity,” the brain’s natural ability to effectively “rewire” itself. While neuroplasticity has long been viewed as a process that characterizes the developing mind during formative childhood years, there has been a good deal of recent debate as to how much of the brain’s plasticity survives into adulthood. Can we replace old, well-worn neural pathways with new ones?

According to Dr. John Ratey in his book “A User’s Guide to the Brain,” “The brain is not a computer that simply executes genetically predetermined programs. Nor is it a passive gray cabbage, victim to the environmental influences that bear upon it. Genes and environment interact to continually change the brain, from the time we are conceived until the moment we die. And we, the owners – to the extent that our genes allow it – can actively shape the way our brains develop throughout the course of our lives.”

But how can we accomplish this re-shaping process? In his provocative book, “The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force,” Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz discusses his radical approach to the treatment of real OCD, based on the concept of mindfulness and the exertion of willpower.

Schwartz reasoned (and then demonstrated via fMRI scans of the brain) that if patients could learn to reassess their obsessive compulsions and then consistently react differently to them, they would eventually alter the neural pathways that underlie them.

According to his four-step approach, patients “Relabel their obsessions and compulsions as false signals, symptoms of a disease. They reattribute those thoughts and urges to pathological brain circuitry. They refocus, turning their attention away from the pathological thoughts and urges onto a constructive behavior. And finally, they revalue the OCD obsessions and compulsions, realizing that they have no intrinsic value, and no inherent power.”

Why shouldn’t we be able to apply a similar process to our love lives? Couldn’t we all use a little refocusing and revaluing?

To that young woman with her case of “obsessive compulsive dating,” and to others stuck in slumps and ruts, it’s inspiring to know that neuroplasticity shows us that what’s been done can potentially be undone, and that if we take the steps to mindfully change our actions, our brains will follow.

Post by: Ian Kerner Ph.D. – sex counselor

source: CNN